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McGill-Queen's University Press Backlist Bestsellers

Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws
Yerí7 re Stsq'ey's-kucw
By (author): Marianne Ignace By (author): Ronald E. Ignace
Marianne Ignace , Ronald E. Ignace


McGill-Queen's University Press



Product Form:



Higher Education
Oct 31, 2017
$42.95 CAD


235 x 159 x 45.72 mm | 1340 gr

Page Count:

624 pages


110 images, 7 maps, 15 tables, colour section
McGill-Queen's University Press
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Indigenous Studies
  • Short Description
An exploration of Secwépemc history told through Indigenous knowledge and oral traditions.
An exploration of Secwépemc history told through Indigenous knowledge and oral traditions.

Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws is a journey through the 10,000-year history of the Interior Plateau nation in British Columbia. Told through the lens of past and present Indigenous storytellers, this volume detail how a homeland has shaped Secwépemc existence while the Secwépemc have in turn shaped their homeland. Marianne Ignace and Ronald Ignace, with contributions from ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, archaeologist Mike Rousseau, and geographer Ken Favrholdt, compellingly weave together Secwépemc narratives about ancestors’ deeds. They demonstrate how these stories are the manifestation of Indigenous laws (stsq'ey') for social and moral conduct among humans and all sentient beings on the land, and for social and political relations within the nation and with outsiders. Breathing new life into stories about past transformations, the authors place these narratives in dialogue with written historical sources and knowledge from archaeology, ethnography, linguistics, earth science, and ethnobiology. In addition to a wealth of detail about Secwépemc land stewardship, the social and political order, and spiritual concepts and relations embedded in the Indigenous language, the book shows how between the mid-1800s and 1920s the Secwépemc people resisted devastating oppression and the theft of their land, and fought to retain political autonomy while tenaciously maintaining a connection with their homeland, ancestors, and laws. An exemplary work in collaboration, Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws points to the ways in which Indigenous laws and traditions can guide present and future social and political process among the Secwépemc and with settler society.

Marianne Ignace is professor of linguistics and First Nations studies at Simon Fraser University. Chief Ronald E. Ignace is a Secwépemc historian, storyteller, and politician, and adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University.

“The Ignaces have created a sweeping and powerful book that provides us with an opportunity to understand Secwépemc people’s relationship with the land.” Susan Rowley, University of British Columbia

“Our young people will passionately accept their responsibilities as stewards of both our territories and teachings sacred to our ancestors when they know our languages and traditions. The Ignaces have brilliantly woven the Secwépemc oral histories with research, and written a work from which young people and all can learn.” Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

“I couldn’t put this book down! A masterpiece of multidisciplinary research on the Secwépemc Nation's history from the Ice Age to the present, science and archival records serve to back up the volume’s primary source of knowledge, the oral narratives and shared memories of the Secwépemc people. These accounts go deeper than science, to the moral lessons of how the humans and the land we live on should relate to each other. Only the Ignaces could write a book of this magnitude, based on their lifetimes of research while living Secwépemc lives as well.” Leanne Hinton, University of California, Berkeley

"An impressive achievement that connects lessons preserved from a 10,000-year history to ongoing land rights struggles, this comprehensive work makes valuable contributions to cross-cultural understanding while providing an excellent model for other First

"Representing 10,000 years of Secwépemc presence in the Interior plateau region of British Columbia through Indigenous perspectives, sources, and approaches, Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws will not only become known as the Secwépemc encyclopedia, but al

"... a major and unique contribution. [This] book offers a deep history of the Secwépemc across millennia through the lens of an Indigenized methodology that draws together both Secwépemc knowledge—in the forms of lived experience, oral knowledge, ontolog

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